I was a light infantry medic and while my platoon was in a firefight, a RPG came in and hit about 3 feet away from me. I took a lot of shrapnel on my right side and a peice hit and fractured my neck between the C6 and C7 vertebrae. Im now considered an incomplete spinal cord injury. Meaning I am paralyzed but still have feeling in some areas below my injury level. I did a post before with my trackchair and some people suggested I do an AMA Older post http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1oimag/was_injured_in_afghanistan_last_year_this_is/

My Proof: a couple pics before my injury http://imgur.com/i9xXjY7 http://imgur.com/JxlXlds http://imgur.com/PrAKU9f Waking up with my Purple Heart: http://imgur.com/qbOggfE One of my shortly after in my chair: http://imgur.com/YkoGY8L And a sexy pic for the ladies: http://imgur.com/SqiaYtT

EDIT: wow thanks for all the support! But to be a little more clear I do have full use of my arms! I'm in a regular push wheelchair

EDIT 2: I'm trying to answer all your questions thank you this kinda blew up! Bear with me!

EDIT 3: wow. I'm just waking up and my inbox is full. I will try to answer most questions but a mans gotta sleep. I'll get to it here in a min!

Comments: 2074 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

cptdabney11588 karma

Does your... you know... still work at all?

Hotwheelz232637 karma

Yes. My little battle buddy works just fine.

WeCameAsBears115 karma

Sorry for the weird question; How do you know when you ejaculate?

edit: Okay, yeah, we know to look when we ejaculate. But for someone who can't feel much or anything down there, how would he know to look?

thewantedman95 karma

He said it works just fine so I imagine he still gets the feels just fine.

sexyawesome109 karma

I'm kinda curious about this. The nerves that innervate the skin of the LBB (Little Battle Buddy) come directly from the lumbosacral plexus. In order to ejaculate, you need to have parasympathetic responses from Pelvic Splanchnic Nerves (that come from S2-S4; that's your sacrum, the bone that is between your tailbone and your spine). The pudendal nerve provides sensation to the LBB. So now I'm curious as to how you, OP, has sensation to this area as well as functioning organ when, theoretically, these structures shouldn't be working due to damage of the spinal cord and the upper motor neurons not being able to communicate with pelvic splanchnic nerves and lower motor neurons... Unless this is some sort of LMN reflex - I dunno.

Edit: Fixed some grammar stuff. I'm sure there's more.

Hotwheelz23508 karma

I am an incomplete injury. So some of the nerves in my spinal cord are intact. I have feeling there and though I can't ejaculate I achieve orgasm. I just need a special vibrator ring thing to ejaculate if I want kids or whatever

friedjumboshrimp776 karma

Favorite Shrimp Recipe?

Hotwheelz23894 karma

God damn do I love shrimp but I don't know a single one. You?

I_GET_KARMA_738 karma

What did getting hit by an rpg feel like

Hotwheelz231781 karma

To be honest, I really didn't feel any pain. I was just kinda like "fuck, I just got hit" the adrenaline just kicked in. Plus I was focusing on other people too. Like 3 guys got hurt and since I was the medic I was kinda trying to tell people how to treat.

flyingburger148 karma

That's amazing.

Did you get tunnel vision? How is your hearing?

Weirdest question - how's your taste?

Hotwheelz23217 karma

Everything was just like slow motion. Kinda like saving private Ryan

FatHitman720 karma

As someone who got hit with three IED's and shot on two different occasions but only have a few scars and back pain from it, Sorry man that sucks how badly you got hurt. I loved all the docs and they saved my life on a few occasions.

So what are you doing now?

How is your life going?

As a disabled Marine myself, If ya ever need anything just send me a pm bro

Hotwheelz23618 karma

Yeah it's all about that sweet spot. Haha. Now I'm getting ready to start up some school, just kinda figure it all out

ambivalentanglican449 karma

Has your experience changed your views on the necessity of war?

Hotwheelz23901 karma

Being over there changed my views a little. But my injury, no. I personally don't think we should be there if there own army doesn't wanna fight with us

TheGruesomeTwosome383 karma

Now that you're in a chair, do you find people treat you differently, or patronize you? How do you deal with this?

I'm not in the US, but again, thank you for your service.

Hotwheelz23588 karma

Yeah I get treated a little different. Mostly glances but whatevs. It's sometimes awkward when people are all over me because I served but I always appreciate it. And thanks

HomburgPokes323 karma

The same question I ask every returning deployer:

"Would you willingly go back?"

It is my sincere hope that you receive the medical, both mental and physical, treatment that you have earned and deserve. Thank you not only for your service, but for your chosen line of service.

Hotwheelz23653 karma

I would go back in a heartbeat. I loved taking care of my guys and all the new experiences

silly_jimmies322 karma

What was the most intense thing that happened while in the field? Besides that RPG I guess.

Hotwheelz23577 karma

We were in a lot of firefights. One of the intense things for me was treating two people at the same time under fire. Pretty crazy. Blowing stuff up is always intense too!

Noah-R305 karma

Do you believe that new treatments will ever allow you to become un-paralyzed?

Hotwheelz23689 karma

I'm pretty confident that something will come along in the future. There's a lot of research going on with spinal cord injuries. But for now I'm just focusing staying healthy and fit.

Morjik284 karma

  • Can you compare the pain of the shrapnel hitting you with something most of us have experienced (like accidentally cutting yourself or breaking a bone)?

  • What were your first thoughts after you have been injured?

Hotwheelz23631 karma

I didn't really feel too much because of my adrenaline. Just kinda like being poked with a hot knife but then the pain went away fast

My first thought was "fuck" everything went into slow motion and I picked my gun back up and started shooting. Then after a second I saw some blood coming down my arm and realized I was a little more hurt than I thought and started to patch myself up.

BrokeDiamond316 karma

How soon was it before you realized you were paralyzed? Just based off what you said it sounds like you were fine for a little bit afterwards...

Hotwheelz2385 karma

Sorry I was caught up answering other questions. I really just kinda barely sat up and shot back I didn't really try to move since I knew I was somehow hurt

Moir53276 karma

What was the most gruesome part of war for you, apart from the apparent incident?

Hotwheelz23546 karma

What comes to mind for me was we had to go pick up 3 Taliban after a helicopter shot them up pretty good and bring the bodies back because they thought one might be a high value target or some bullshit. Pretty gruesome for even a medic

Bradleyy13187 karma

TIL That you can be paralyzed and still have feeling in some of the areas that are paralyzed. If I'm understanding correctly.

Anyways I don't really have a question but goodluck with schooling and post injury life. Thought of a question, what you going to school for.

I'm Canadian but have tons of respect for anyone in the military, so good job serving and thank you.

Hotwheelz23234 karma


GSstreetfighter184 karma

Going out for Halloween?

Hotwheelz23573 karma

Johnny 5!

suupasteve176 karma

I read your intro and instantly thought of you; I've met you before and took care of you in the hospital! Funny I see your AMA on reddit and that we were taking about reddit the night I was your caregiver. Glad to see you're doing well and are sharing your story with others. Looking forward to seeing you again soon, brother!

Hotwheelz2313 karma

Which hospital!! Who is this!? You stalking me!? Haha PM me!

JordanSM135 karma

Is it hard to be optimistic after a tragedy like this? How do you do it?

Hotwheelz23470 karma

The way I see it, being negative doesn't bring any good. You can sit around and feel bad but that won't accomplish anything but a gut. Haha. I just try to get out and do as much as I can and learn what new stuff I can do

TheNitromunkey109 karma

As a 68W, how often did you do missions with infantry?

Hotwheelz23209 karma

Like 2-3 times a day. I was pretty much in the infantry platoon. Just had the added medic perks. But not all medics go to into the infantry. I just got lucky.

slips28108 karma

Thanks for the pic for ladies ;) say I am meeting you for the first time. Would you be ok w me asking about your injury and thanking you for your service or..

Hotwheelz23160 karma

It really doesn't bug to talk about my injury. I actually prefer talking about it rather than leaving people wondering. I would say ask away!

michicant73 karma

What kind of support have you received since returning home? Be it physiotherapy/rehab, or mental health support? Just interested to know as it must have been quite the transition.

Hotwheelz23144 karma

I've had so much support coming home I kinda feel bad sometimes. Haha. It's really awesome how many support groups there are.

DeepFried72 karma

It seems like our nation is collectively sweeping the entire experience of Iraq/Afghanistan under the rug. The opinion seems to be "wasn't worth it, and now let's stop talking about it." How do the vets feel about their countrymen?

Hotwheelz23155 karma

It differs person to person. A lot of vets I've met are on the page of we shouldn't be there right now. But we are treated so much better than the Vietnam vets during there time. But the support is always there

JulesBlues70 karma

I've heard stories where people who experienced a war or part of it always were emotionally scarred. Any such thing happened to you?

Hotwheelz23179 karma

Yeah. I have flashbacks here and there. Nothing to bad but it's there

Gerhard22027 karma

How are they? Just memories, vivid memories, or do you practically hear and see what happened all over again? Never known how far from the movies real flashbacks are.

Hotwheelz2324 karma

It's just a vivid memory. Like your reliving it but only for like 3 seconds then it's gone so it just ruffles my feathers I guess. Not that often though

AfghanWeave69 karma

I was with 2BCT, 1AD from 2003-2005. Much love, brother. How have you handled your new situation since it happened? Are there any prospects for you to walk again? Do you follow current research trends in orthopedic spine medicine and volunteer for studies? In retrospect (this is a serious one), would you serve again knowing the outcome of your service? Also, if there's anything I can do to help you out in any way shoot me a PM. I'm pretty well connected within the Army due to my current line of work.

Hotwheelz2387 karma

I was 3bct, 1AD! Small world. Bliss right? But I have followed up on most of it. And I would redo it all again without thinking twice.

A_Random_Midget67 karma

Was the experience mind blowing?

Hotwheelz23470 karma

Try body blowing! It was pretty crazy.

bowm648763 karma

What made you want to become a combat medic, particularly the army?

Im planning on joining the army or navy after I graduate with my nursing degree and I am leaning towards navy but I want to hear the other side.

Thank you for your service!

Hotwheelz23186 karma

I actually wanted to join as infantry but they wouldn't let me because I'm colorblind. I scored really high on the ASVAP test so they gave me 3 choices. Health care specialist (medic), chaplains assistant and laundry specialist. I asked if that was a combat medic and the said yes so I signed up for that. I'm really glad I did because I really couldn't see myself doing anything else and being a medic is one of the best jobs in the army. Plus I rocked at it.

Dim-of-the-Yard54 karma

Is it a problem that rocket propelled grenade and role playing game share the same acronym?

Hotwheelz2387 karma

I will never look at the the same :(

nosaJ429749 karma

When the medic was treating you, what was that like from another medic's perspective? Was the guy treating you more experienced than you or less? If less, were you afraid he would screw up?

Hotwheelz23170 karma

I was the only medic around so I was telling my guys how to treat me. I wasn't worried though because I gave them classes and stuff.

corgistump47 karma

I wish you the best and a speedy recovery. Any advice to a fellow 68W? I'm also in an infantry unit and graduated about a year ago.

Hotwheelz23115 karma

Just be ready. The first injury you treat you won't be prepared for. They're never textbook so always know how to improvise

thelastdodobird36 karma

What's with gumby in the pictures?

Hotwheelz23125 karma

I carried Gumby everywhere I went. Took random pics with him all over

teamkeogh34 karma

I've always been interested in the responsibilities of a combat medic.

Could you describe your scope of practice? How much does your skill set differ from an EMT or Paramedic? Were there skills that you could perform that would make your civilian counterpart jealous?

Hotwheelz2367 karma

We all get emt Bs and then do the actual medic training. There is a lot you can do depending on how cool your PA is and whether your in a hospital setting. The hospital medics can't do as much because of all the restrictions. I got to do some shit that would make doctors jealous!

gun_totin32 karma

Fucking scary brother. I got hit with a few and nothing lasting happened to me, buddy next to me died. I'm glad you're alright, I know you probably don't need the random guy on the internets help but if there is anything I can do let me know. Love ya doc, stay easy

Hotwheelz2335 karma

Thanks man. I'm sorry about your buddy. You just never know sometimes

MidnightT0ker29 karma

You say the injury paralyzed you. But you also say after the RPG hit you picked up the gun and started shooting. Might be a dumb question but were you paralyzed immediately? Could you walk and move due to adrenaline or you just stayed in place. I want to know what was going in your head and what were you capable and incapable of moving. What does your family think about this. Thanks for your service.

Hotwheelz2369 karma

I'm pretty sure I was paralyzed off the bat because I never really tried to move knowing I was hurt. The weird thing was that I did sit up and was able to return fire for a second. But once my guys grabbed me and moved me to cover I went kinda limp. And had my buddy sit me up. I was just thinking like a medic. "Ok, I've got so many minutes before I can bleed out at worst. Ok. It's 5 min to the base once the helicopter gets here"

PotentialDisaster44 karma

Do you think that when your Pl members grabbed you they could have unwittingly caused a C-spine injury or something of that nature, since it was only after this that you were unable to move/went limp?

Obviously I am not trying to say they did anything wrong. Care under fire is some serious shit, and if somebody is in the killing zone you're getting them the fuck out of there.

Hotwheelz2333 karma

No. I was paralyzed before they moved me. The shrapnel had already fractured it. But really you don't have a choice on the battlefield then to move to cover

cowboykev26 karma

Can you describe your history, as far as schooling went, from after high school until your service. And did the army pay for your schooling as far as college or med school went. I'm considering joining the army, because I want to be a doctor and I can barely afford college let alone med school. Thanks

Hotwheelz2360 karma

I don't have med school. I joined pretty much a couple months after high school. They give you all the schools you need. Even some really good advanced stuff if you try

CoolingtonBeans25 karma

what was the most serious injury, aside from the rpg, you tended to? whether on yourself or someone else.

what was the least serious?

Hotwheelz2368 karma

Most serious a guy pretty much cut in half with an apache helicopter. He was alive when we got to him so I had to treat him.

Least serious would probably be when I had to evac my buddy because he cut his tongue besides like the regular stuff

araeos22 karma

Thank you for your service sir! A couple of guys from my village are medics, and one shared that if he felt someones injuries were not that bad, he would hand out tampons and hello kitty bandaids. Did you have similar practices? Also, if you have partial feeling, do you also have movement, like toe wiggling, or are you only still aware?

Hotwheelz2376 karma

I had Disney princess and maxi pads! I really don't have too much movement.

SupGirluHungry21 karma

Thank you for your service first and foremost. What did you come away from the entire experience in terms of accepting and moving on from what has happened to you? What is your most difficult daily activity?

Hotwheelz2378 karma

I think that I've grown an unmeasurable amount from my injury. It pretty much has changed the way I view a lot of things. Maybe I'm just starting to turn into a hippie. Who knows.

Most difficult activity would probably be showering. Just cuz my shitter chair sucks and I have to transfer back and fourth a couple times to get in and out.

nessamonster5420 karma

You seem really upbeat about the whole thing-was there a point when it wasn't as rosy? Did the positivity come from you entirely? Because that's pretty badass.

Hotwheelz2365 karma

I was depressed for a little bit. But being sad doesn't solve anything

Tattrie1520 karma

When you were hit was there another medic to treat you or did you comrades start first aid right then and there?

Hotwheelz2340 karma

My comrades helped on the spot.

LDM31218 karma

Any recommendations about boot camp? Going in soon myself

Hotwheelz2351 karma

Just stay quiet and try to learn what you can. It's way easier than everyone leads you to believe. It's all what you make of it.

FunDiggle16 karma

Thanks for what you did out there, And secondly, you said cant move from the chest down, does that include your arms too, or do you have full mobility?

Hotwheelz2330 karma

I have full mobility of my arms

i8pikachu15 karma

When you woke up, how did you learn you were paralyzed? Did you go through stages of denial?

Hotwheelz2342 karma

I was in bed about a week before they told me I was paralyzed I just thought I was recovering from the blast injury. So I guess I had a little denial phase for a min

SnaKiZe15 karma

Quick question, were you a 68W?

If so, how come you were able to have a rifle? I thought under the geneva convention/NATO or whatever, you wre only allowed a Pistol for self defense?

Hotwheelz2330 karma

Anything under a 9mm round. So I can have a rifle. But it all goes out the window. If I feel threatened I can use whatever weapon I need

BrokeDiamond15 karma

First, did your team get the guy who shot you with the RPG?

Also, have you found the VA to be as bad as some people have described it?

Hotwheelz2337 karma

They bombed the crap outta that dude so I'm pretty sure.

The VA sucks really bad. They have an awesome spinal cord unit but everything else is a no go in my book


I want to say I truly appreciate you for your service and you seem like you aren't letting anything set you back in life and that is truly inspiring. I come from a military family and have deep respect and gratitude for the people who served and saw combat.

With the military having to do many different jobs for itself and thus requiring many different people for different jobs, do you think they view each other very different because of their experiences and not as whole group? I can't speak for anyone other then myself but I'm almost positive if I had served, went through combat, I might not look at someone who has some type of desk job at a base in the States.

Do you think America truly understands whats going on in the other countries that we are involved with in a military sense? After watching the documentary Dirty Wars, I feel like there is a false sense of transparency that we are given and then we get easily distracted by our own cultural on goings, and the evildoers just keep on doing what they do.

EDIT Fixed that last sentence

Hotwheelz2343 karma

For you first question, yes we view each other differently. There's a combat mos (job) or the noncombat mos. it's a badge of honor to be in combat arms and we get a little cocky. But when your out doing shit and haven't had a shower in over a month, been shot at everyday and go back to the big base to do laundry, get supplies and shower and you see the desk job people living the life of comfort and still complaining about how much it sucks or how hard there job is. You get frustrated. So yeah. "Views" are different.

As for part 2. I'm not at liberty to say ;) haha. But no I don't think people really understand what's going on over there in a lot of senses

Daley_T14 karma

Do you find jokes on Family Guy making fun of paraplegics more funny after this or really offensive?

Hotwheelz2335 karma

I actually really like joe on family guy now.

THEmuffinMENN12 karma

I like your username! Thanks for your service as well! Lastly do you regret going to fight and your life changing drastically because of it?

Hotwheelz2333 karma

No regrets!

Adeptpotato10 karma

Thank you for serving with our troops! How is life for you now? Do you feel hindered by this tragic happening or do you feel as if it made you stronger inside

Hotwheelz2327 karma

As of now I'm getting ready to start school and all is good. I deff feel this made me stronger and have grown a lot from it. I have my challenges here and there but it's just like a new learning curve.

diaza77110 karma

Would you trade the purple heart and all your experiences in the military for the ability to walk again?

Hotwheelz2323 karma


screwthepresent9 karma

I've always wanted to ask.. What's it like being paralyzed? Is there a 'divide' between the parts of you that you can feel/move and the parts you can't?

Sorry for awkward phrasing.

Hotwheelz2338 karma

The best way to put it is like my legs just feel comfortable. It's weird.

jonathanhalley6 karma

Thanks for your service.

Would you still join the military if you had to do it all over again with the knowledge and experience that you have now?

Hotwheelz2320 karma

Without a second thought. I loved ever min of being in the army especially a medic.

TheLachie6 karma

Thank you for your service, I think it's great how positive you are about everything. As a teenager interested in medicine and the military, how would I go about being a combat medic?

Hotwheelz2316 karma

You just have to score high on you ASVAP test. Then pick your job

kddunkin5 karma

Have you received anything from the VA, military, government, etc about your right to own firearms due to your injuries and presumed PTSD?

Hotwheelz2310 karma


papercupstacker5 karma

How long was your medic training?
Did you see the RPG coming at you but simply had no chance to react?
Most importantly, thank you for your service to this great country.

Hotwheelz2317 karma

Medic training is 16 weeks If I remember right. Yeah I saw it coming but just had time to think "shit"

Cosmic_Slug3 karma

Do you resent the military for your disfigurement? What type of benefits are they offering you? Income?

Hotwheelz2319 karma

I do not resent the military in any way nor do I blame them for my "disfigurement." They're giving me really good benefits and a pretty good chunk for an income. If I didn't want to work I wouldn't have to but where's the fun in that?

ajay0070012 karma

I have no words to say I'm really impressed that you seem happy through all of this and especially because you helps others at the same time. My question is how did you stay calm through the whole paralyzation and how do you stay so positive(or at least you make it sound like that).

Hotwheelz232 karma

You can't really go back in time so the only thing to really do is keep moving forward

ruiner321 karma

Thank you so much for your service. That sounds hollow to me, but I genuinely mean it.

This is my first AMA question, so here we go.

I work in the wheelchair biz, and have mixed feelings about e-motion. Is it working for you? I really hope it is.

Thanks again.

EDIT: Changed hate to mixed feelings. There is a use for all assistive tech, and I'm not the end user.

Hotwheelz233 karma

I'm actually back to regular wheels. The e motions kinda blow

Apocalyptic_Squirrel1 karma

Do you ever feel resentment towards the army for putting you in that situation? I feel like in your situation, I would be pretty pissed off at the army, and mostly everything else

Hotwheelz233 karma

Not really. It was all my choice